Can we lose our salvation? by Pastor Don
Ed Gabler came up to visit from Florida, and shared with us that he has a small Bible study in his home. One of the members of his Bible study goes to another church that believes a person can lose their salvation. Ed shared with us some of the verses he used to minister to this person, and then Pastor Don added more information.
The first verse used was 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
The people referred to in this verse left the group because they were not really saved, they were like wolves in sheep’s clothing. Had they been saved to the point where it touched their hearts AND minds, they would not choose to leave. The profession of faith they made was superficial.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, when you practice lawlessness!”
People can do good deeds, claiming that they are of Christ, but not know Him.
Luke 8:13 This is part of the parable of the seed that is thrown into different soils But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
A secular example of this kind of believer is Bob Dylan who, at one point professed to believe in Jesus, but when his ratings fell, he came out saying I thought Jesus was the answer but I was wrong. His ratings meant more than his salvation.
When Jesus says, “I never knew you,” it shows that person wasn’t saved. Jesus did not lose any of His own. God does not forget His children. If God knows you, He knows you, and you will not fall away.
We have to be clear about the Word of God, not listening to what men say.
Matthew 25:32-46 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him,saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are people who do good works on earth that are not Christian. They do good works in the physical but do not feed the people the eternal Word of God.
At the end of the age Jesus is going to separate the goats from the sheep. Goats are stubborn, do not pay attention, they will eat anything – even things that are unhealthy and could kill them. Sheep eat what the shepherd leads them to. They know the shepherd’s voice and follow him. Jesus is our shepherd.
We took a side journey to remember some of the information about sheep and shepherds we learned in Israel. Even a goat can be used to help the shepherd. A goat, if trained properly, can lead the sheep. Tethering a goat to a donkey, the goat runs its course, the donkey plods along, the goat wears itself out pulling against the donkey, and after a time the goat and the donkey work together. The goat learns to cooperate, and then will follow the shepherd, leading the sheep. Goats are more intelligent than sheep, and then the dogs bring up the rear, nipping the heels of the wayward sheep. Donkeys obey the shepherd because they know the source of their food. A young, wayward, disobedient sheep will have its legs broken by the shepherd, be carried by the shepherd as the legs heal, and in the time it takes for his legs to heal, the sheep forms a strong bond with the shepherd.
We also talked about the scapegoat brought before the priest in the temple, the scapegoat carried the sins of the people outside the camp. Pastor Don mentioned how the mistakes, and errors of our past keep nipping at our heels like the dog nips at the sheep’s heels, and that keeps us following our savior.
If we are looking over our shoulders toward the past, the dog of our mistakes nips at our heels. If we are walking forward, staying close to the Savior, there is no need for the dog to nip at our heels. The more we profess our faith and stick by Christ, the less chance we have to fall.
Before we were saved, we could curse at a person and feel good about it. We could justify our words by thinking they deserved it, we were right to do what we did. But as we come closer to Jesus, we find it harder and harder to justify sin. Even our tiniest sins look dark next to the light of Christ.
Jesus spoke a parable about servants given talents and told to multiply them while the master was away. The servants came back and shared what they did with the talents. The lazy servant came back with only the talent God gave him, and did not use the talent to multiply, this was the master’s response to the unprofitable servant: Matthew 25:26-31 But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
Among those servants there were those who do not have the heart of the master, who do not intend to carry out his plan or intentions. There is no guarantee for those who do not have the heart of the master. The description that the unprofitable servant gave of God was a false description. He thought he knew God, but he did not know God. God called the servant wicked – God knew he was wicked at the start, but gave the servant a chance. This is very similar to when Jesus picked the 12 disciples. He knew one would betray Him (and Judas did betray Him.) God realizes we will make mistakes, we will not always obey Him. It is not that these people made mistakes in understanding God or in serving God, but it was a case of the sincerity of their hearts. Did they have a willingness to repent and get back up? Were they really in love with God? God knows our heart, we cannot see into the hearts of others.
Regarding the sower who sowed seed, this parable deals with what produces fruit. The true Christian will bring forth fruit. The rebellious person will not do what God wants him to do, and will not bear fruit. God deals with us according to our hearts.
1 Corinthians 3:1-2 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food, for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
Paul was writing to carnal Christians, who were still babes in Christ. They were not growing in Christ, and because of that Paul had to tone down the teachings that he had for them. They could not bite into the meat of the Word of God.
There are various levels of the revelation of God.
1. Revelation without understanding. It would be similar to what happened to Daniel when he had his vision, he heard and saw the vision but did not know what to do with it. The angel of the Lord had to come and explain the vision to Daniel. This would also be a person that understands that there is faith, but doesn’t know how to operate in faith.
2. Revelation with understanding. I hear something today, and I get the feeling “Whoa, I get this.”
3. Revelation with Experience. Something is revealed to you and you understand it. For example, you see why you had to go through all that, it wasn’t for nothing. You understand the principles of prosperity because you have gone through poverty, and gain an understanding how to overcome that and get to the point of abundance. You begin to realize that God tests you with little before he gives you much. Another example is if you went through a life of suffering you can understand the suffering of others in a way that a person with only an intellectual understanding of suffering can’t. God permits you to experience things so that you gain a deeper revelation.
People want to believe everyone who does good works can have salvation. But salvation requires a revelation of God is good, satan is bad. And a revelation of how sin keeps us from holiness. When we have a deeper understanding of God, we realize salvation is not about good works, but about an act of the heart. When God touches our hearts then we have a revelation of Him, and the same works that we used to do before we got saved are now done because of how much we love God, not as a way to earn salvation.
There is a revelatory experience to salvation, when we see His holiness and His love. God has a heart to save all who have a heart to want to be saved. Not all have the desire for deep salvation, some have a narrow salvation. They want God to forgive them, but they do not want to put God on the throne of their hearts. When God is not in charge of a person and they begin to rely on themselves for answers, then they easily fall away from God. People will say they lose their salvation, but really they have not lost salvation, for they never really had it in the first place. Their sense of holiness was too small, not big enough to realize God gives choice to us. God knows the heart of the person, and God is not fooled by outside affectations of salvation. We are not to judge another’s salvation, but God knows. He knows those who do not have a heart to fully repent of their sins (repenting meaning turning around, changing course to be in line with God’s will.)
God is God. Some people draw a line as to how far they are going to “permit” God into their lives. They say, “I am a good person, I feed the poor, give, do works of charity, but I am not going to let God be the Lord of my life. Their lives may look holy on the outside, but inside they are dealing with a sin of pride, believing they can rule their own lives their own way, not obeying God. But God knows our hearts. We can be doing good things for the wrong reasons.
It takes a revelation of the truth of God and how much love He has poured out for us to truly change us. If we are truly saved, we will realize what God has done for us and our acts of service are done for love of God, not glory of man. It is not a works mentality, but a revelation, knowledge, and understanding of who God is. Revelation accompanied by expression.
Pastor Don said that he would not want to be judged by people who feel that a person can lose their salvation because they will judge by outward actions, not by the condition of our heart.
Psalm 37:23-25 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the LORD upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old. Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
1 Corinthians 3:2-3 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
God knows our frames, he knows we are dust. He is not disappointed when we act the fool. He just wants us to pick ourselves up and grow and learn from the experience. There are some in church that are still baby Christians even though they have been in the church for years. God is wanting us to mature in Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:9-10 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
Paul laid the foundation of truth, but we have to be careful what we add to that foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Pastor Don pointed out that the only foundation is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, each one’s work will become clear, for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
The quality of the heart is judged by what you do, is it lasting or will it be burnt by the fire of truth?
1 Corinthians 3:14-15 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The works that we do for the love of Christ do not determine our salvation, just our rewards in heaven. The saints build on the foundation of Christ, and it will be judged with a purification of fire. The dross will be burnt off.
Pastor Don reminded us not to go boasting about our works, unless it is guided to do that to teach others how to do good works for God, far better to do your good works in secret. Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.
2 Corinthians 4:5-12 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.
2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,
We read the words, “I believed and therefore I spoke.” three times out loud.
2 Corinthians 4:14-15 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted; after your heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
2 Corinthians 5:5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
There is another aspect of faith, the time aspect of Eternity. We don’t know about the time, for the Spirit lives forever. There is a an error of translation for King James uses Aeon, and talks about aeonic time. Our Bible translates it as eternal. Eternity relates to our time but God’s timing is more based on seasons and parsnips of time. God is outside of time. God’s timing is at a different pace than our time. We count days, weeks, years. But God’s timing is based on events.
People look at Abraham and Sarah who had a child when Abraham was 100 years old and wonder why God made them wait so long to have a child. God was not concerned about their age, he was waiting until all events were in place so that the child was born at the exact right time. And when this child was born, Abraham’s joy was off the charts. It did not matter to Abraham that he was 100 years old.
Until we accept that what God wants us to put down is because He has a greater thing for us, we are still immature.
The devil introduces ideas into the church that weaken the faith of the believer, ideas like you can lose your salvation. The fear of losing one’s salvation has no effect on an unbeliever, but it can cause the believer to believe they must work harder to maintain their salvation. The devil wants the believer to fear that their salvation is shaky. To think that salvation depends on works, on what we do or don’t do.
Jesus wants us to know He loves us so much, He will never leave us or forsake us.
If we are shaky about our salvation, Pastor Don suggested reading Philippians 4:4-9
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice.
We rejoice not some of the time, not most of the time but ALWAYS.
Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
We need to be gentle. And know God is at hand, He will not leave us or forsake us.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Give thanks to God. God cares about our requests.
Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Jesus helps us guard our hearts and minds.
And then we read as a group the following verses.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
That is the way that we keep our hearts pure, by meditating on these things.
Of course, our group loves the Bible so much and this chapter a lot, we finished the Bible study with a group reading of a few more verses of Philippians 4:10-20, how could we not enjoy these rich verses.
Philippians 4:10-20 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
What an encouraging Bible study, it is comforting to know that we cannot lose our salvation. And for me, it is comforting to know how much He loves us and helps us to learn to follow His way which is the best way for us.
Have a blessed day. I am slowly catching up in my Bible study notes – it is pure pleasure to have so many more to share with you, and all so rich and filled with His Spirit.
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